She paused at the gate. Really? They needed an intercom all the way out here in the country? It seemed ridiculous to her but the way her day was going meant it earned only a quick eye roll.
“Um, this is Theresa Crawley, here for the int..”
The buzzer cut her off and she pulled the door towards her several times before discovering it was a push. As she walked the long path to the oversized front door Theresa decided that all signs were pointing towards this being not only a bad idea, but a rather terrible one that meant the loss of an entire afternoon not to mention her bus fare.
“Ok girls, back in the boat!”
Leonore felt refreshed and awake. Her sense on overdrive thanks to the sun, air, and sound of the waves. She wasn’t ready to leave just yet but even at her young age she knew April’s mother was not a woman to argue with.
Shoving her blanket back into the oversize bag she brought everywhere, Leonore glanced around to make sure she had not forgotten anything. She didn’t know why they had to have a girls only boat. The other girls hated her. Maybe hate was too strong a word. They weren’t interested in her. Leonore wondered if they would even notice if she went overboard on the ride back to shore.
Days later and the clouds still hadn’t parted. She was beginning to feel as if sunshine or even rain was just an abstract memory. Well, she allowed that perhaps she was exaggerating a small bit, but she did allow herself to wallow in the feeling of limbo that seemed to accompany this endless series of cloudy days. Even Theodore’s arrival had done little to break the malaise in her head. After a morning spent listening to the others in animated conversation she had at last broken away to the garden to contemplate by herself. What she was going to contemplate she had yet to decide.
Isabelle had always thought Monsieur was a bit of a silly name. Their dogs at home had been named Prince and Brownie, and while they were dogs and not regal birds, Isabelle thought their names much more appropriate for a household pet. She supposed Monsieur was not exactly a typical household pet but even the two other birds known to roam around the grounds had much more appropriate names to Isabelle’s line of thinking (Duchess and Maggie). Plus, as far as she knew neither Uncle Nathan nor his large estate were even French.
With his regal stance and uncomfortable name Isabelle often felt the need to curtsey when she came across Monsieur on her daily meanderings when she visited. Although his name and bearing vexed Isabelle in ways she could not articulate, she often felt a need to” ‘fess up” as their old housemaid Mary had often put it. Isabelle found herself telling Monsieur of the laughs she had stifled when meeting Mother’s beaus, and the time she had kicked Nancy Cumberland in the shins for asking why her father had disappeared.
Keefer dropped his bucket, so consumed with his frustration that he didn’t notice it roll to its side and begin leaking their precious bait all over the dock.
“You’re kidding me!” he said to no one in particular- although Ralph had a feeling his loudest friend’s anger would soon be aimed directly at him. Keefer began miming a beating of the “No Fishing” sign while the rest of the boys stood awkwardly clutching their undropped buckets. None of them seemed ready to take off the kid gloves they had been wearing around Ralph the entire weekend. Keefer though seemed ready to completely drop the artifice.
The warm coffee mug felt wonderful in Maria’s hands. Under the awning and out of the sun it was cool and she had not brought any sort of sweater or coat. Mustache was inside trying to remedy whatever gross injustice the barista had done to his double shot latte or mocha or whatever he had requested. Yet another reason to stick to her typical black coffee.
Maria hoped Mustache took a long time getting his corrected drink, she was perfectly content sitting here alone and watching the table next to them. Several birds had landed to take a look at what the table’s previous guests might have left them for a late morning treat but only one had remained more than a few seconds. Intermittently he pecked at the leftover muffin or danish crumbs left on the table. Most of the time he spent staring up at Maria with what she liked to think of as quite a contemplative look on his little face.
Mustache suddenly came whirling through the door, a fresh coffee concoction in his hand, his long mustache leading the way for the rest of his rather boisterous body. The bird was gone in a second and though Mustache had done nothing to cause her tiny friend’s exit she couldn’t help but blame him for ruining her perfect moment. She decided immediately that there would not be a second date.
The flags had been untouched for several weeks now. They were in surprisingly good shape, a bit ratty but few holes. At first they had seemed centerpieces when the news had first reached town. In those first few days as men had gathered to discuss their futures, their alliances, their lives, the symbol for the nation served as a beacon of pride and hope. Even the pub’s own flag had elicited a surprisingly amount of loyalty and respect. One of old Mason’s own sons had crawled out the window each morning to hang out the flags and returned again late at night to carefully fold them away overnight or in the rain. When the oldest sons had left for the city, with Mason himself not far behind, the younger sons had kept up the ritual for several days but now scarcely anyone paid them any mind. They, both the flags and the sons, had been left on their own for some time.
James Mason had done his best not to neglect his father’s pub. He had learned years ago it was important for the town to have a place to congregate so when his brother Jason had followed their father and two older brothers to the city he had done his best to keep the pub open. Long ago it had had a name but ever since James could remember everyone had just called it the Mason House. James, finding their home too empty without his elder brothers, had begun sleeping there several nights ago, dragging Carter, the youngest with him.